Artist Statement

Gillian Morris

Contemporary Textile Art

Screen print from archive material

The universal themes of identity, belonging and nature have been printed and woven into my textile work. Of a long term family relationship with the sea and the coast. Alongside this… found natural objects, natural forms from collections, nature itself and natural surfaces which mean something and represent more than itself have long held a fascination for me. Found natural objects forged through time and pressure like stones, rock…crystal geodes and fossils say something about our environment, what has been, of the processes of change which in itself is now continually and increasingly changing, of increased uncertainty through intervention from man and machine. Of using textiles to focus attention on what is natural, beautiful, functional and important for the environment.

I have always been drawn to the sea…of my families close ties and connections with the sea, of my love of the many life forms which inhabit the oceans and of their endangered status. Using natural forms from the oceans like shells… attempts have been repeatedly made through hand printmaking and tapestry weaving to bring attention to their beauty and potential loss. I have created a range of screen-printed textiles and tapestry weavings abstracted from their initial source materials to highlight what is so often missed… to give a platform to the overlooked to be more readily seen and re-evaluated, their importance acknowledged. Seashells for example are an essential part of coastal ecosystems, they provide material for other animals to build their homes, to be their home or offer camouflage to help enable their survival including algae and many micro-organisms, fish and crabs. The removal of shells and shell fragments from the coastal areas has the potential to increase the rate of shoreline erosion through destabilisation and the loss of sediment and plants. The seashells exoskeleton is comprised of calcium carbonate and for hundreds of millions of years these marine creatures have converted calcium ions dissolved in sea water into hard shells. If the natural cycle of life and death is not interrupted the inhabited shells fall to the seabed to form another geological layer of rock. The process of marine calcification, of their conversion of carbon dioxide into chalk helps to fight against carbon emissions throughout the oceans.

The use of colour with shape and line underlies all my work based upon increased scale. I am influenced by and increasingly led by the production of narrative concerning my identity with nature, of my creative process involving story telling. Through mark making there is an emphasis on the analysis of placement, composition and the inter-relationships of shape and line with colour to produce a new way of seeing and interpreting what is happening here and now. Detailed cross-sections of the sampling process often lend itself to further developments and increased scale.

While I focus upon the production of screen-printed one-off textile artworks, I wish to increasingly experiment using collaged imagery with more unique mark-making.  I aim to use a wider range of printmaking techniques including heat transfer techniques, to forge increased multi-media use and to add to the depth of narrative, to focus upon found natural objects and natural forms from collections, to utilise their surface marks and their place within their immediate environment. I also hope to utilise both printed textiles and tapestry weaving to increasingly site my work in and around relevant environments and objects from such environments. I have started to experiment with slate and stone… to place my work around or on top of natural objects on a smaller scale initially to start to create new interpretations, relationships and narratives with nature and who I am.

A picture containing sitting, table, echinoderm

Description automatically generated
Borrowed stone-Found & Replaced
Tapestry weaving- Sampling of natural surface-Interpretation of a found stone

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